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Up and at em'
Authored by: gary.edwards on Saturday, November 10 2007 @ 03:28 AM CST
Excuse me anony.  Hate to interrupt your rant with the facts. By the time we arrived in Massachusetts, June 19th, 2006, CIO Louis Gutierrez did not have a budget.  No secret there.  If there was to be an ODF solution, it would have to be delivered at zero cost.  We all knew that up front.

If you can handle the truth, here it is.  ODF hung by a thread.  A year long Massachusetts Pilot Study concerning the implementation of ODF had been completed, and the results were a total disaster.  Every major ODF vendor participated in that Pilot Study and were unable to deliver.

There was no plan B, but Louis and his staff came up with this hail mary idea of issuing an RFi, "Request for Information concerning the feasibility of an ODF plug-in for MSOffice.  A clone of the MS-OOXML Compatibility Pack plug-in if you will.

When we got there, as one of the few responses to the RFi, ODF truly hung by a thread.  No money, no hope of success, a disasterous pilot, and one last shot - a plug-in of such high conversion fidelity that all of the ODF vendors believed it to be impossible to do.

But Louis had a plan.  His plan was for us to contribute both our da Vinci plug-in and our InfoSet portable conversion engine as part of an open source ODF Community solution.  He's a very persuasive guy, and we agreed to what was then the unthinkable. 

Although the design of the Massachusetts plug-in was complex, and expensive, Louis then persuaded IBM and Oracle to create a "benefactors" group that would sponsor this newly christened open source project.  The targeted group included IBM, Oracle, Google, Intel, Novell, Sun and Nokia.

We agreed to contribute da Vinci and InfoSet under the GPL.  IBM and Oracle agreed to organize the "benefactors" group.  Louis Gutierrez persuaded California and the EU-IDABC to take permanent seats with Massachusetts on the new ODF Foundation Board of Directors, which was charged with managing and distributing the source code.  Timothy Vaverchak was appointed project manager.  The "benefactors" of course also held permanent BofD seats.

For our part, we delivered in early August the ODF iX version of da Vinci, proving our fidelity claims.  We also wrote the plug-in road map of deliverables that became the outline and timeline of Louis' mid August 2006 Report. 

Key to the success of this project was OASIS approval of our ODF iX enhancements; OpenOffice implementation of support of the ODF iX enhancements; and, IBM-Oracle success with the "benefactors" group.

We failed in all three of these last requirements.  OASIS never approved our iX enhancements, with April of 2007 marking the final declaration by the OASIS ODF TC that compatibility with existing MS documents and interoperability with existing MSOffice applications would not be part of ODF's future.

A day after IBM and Oracle notified Louis Gutierrez that they were unable to pull together the "benefactors" group, Louis resigned.  It's been rumored that one member of the group decided not to participate, but would rather go it alone with their own plug-in.

So those are the facts anony.  How it is we were going to commercialize the da Vinci plug-in in Massachusetts is a mystery to me.  ODF hung by a thread, and many in the community were willing to do whatever it took to save it.  You need to explain your accusation.

OBTW, where were you when this was going down?  If there's anything we learned in Massachusetts it's that if we're going to defeat Microsoft, it will be in the trenches, with real world solutions that are competitive alternatives to MS-OOXML.  Blogging MS to death isn't going to get the job done my friend.  When the call goes out for real world solutions, as it did with the Massachusetts RFi, you've got to show up with more than your keyboard and blog.

We showed up.  We put forward as an open source contribution something extremely unique.  Something we and Massachusetts valued very much.  Something an incredible amount of work went into.  We put it all on the table because ODF hung by a thread.  But where were you?  What did you contribute?  When the bell rang, and the fight was on with a ruthless monopolist, where were you?

So we didn't get our iX enhancements through OASIS.  So we've moved on to CDF.  So what.  The more salient point is that we are still in the battle with Microsoft.  We're going back into the trenches with CDF, where the battle of real world solutions will determine who wins and who loses.  You're not going to be there.  No surprise.  Very consistent as a matter of fact.

What we couldn't do with ODF we think we can accomplish with CDf.  Our objective is to neutralize and re purpose MSOffice to produce high fidelity CDF documents that are web ready for Exchange/SharePoint alternatives.  What's wrong with that?  Does anyone have a better idea?

At 65% marketshare, the Exchange/SharePoint juggernaut will be difficult to stop.  Microsoft has quietly launched a massive migration of MSOffice bound business processes to the Exchange/SharePoint developers hub.  The connection between the desktop and server transition is such that both sides of the equation can read/write, with very high fidelity, MS-OOXML.

They've got a plan.  Do you?

Today there is no alternative to MS-OOXML that can work within the context of the MSOffice business process migration to the E/S Hub.  We failed with ODf because ODF was simply not designed for this purpose.  So now we're going to give it go with CDF. 

Many people are sneering at this effort, including Microsoft.  We think we can do it.  But more to the point, at least we are willing to try.  What's your solution?  Oh.  You would rather sit back, do nothing, and let this juggernaut steamroll everything in sight without even attempting to provide an alternative.  Saving your wrath for those who would try to provide an alternative.  Any alternative.  And the W3C's CDf is every bit as legitimate an open standard as ODF.  The only difference is that CDF was written for the web platform.  ODF was not. 

What i and my garage challenged partners care most about is NOT arguing that CDF is a better file format for OpenOffice than ODF.  What we are totally concerned with is the migration of existing MSOffice business processes to MS-OOXML <> E/S Hub and the MS Stack.  Once that happens, there will be no way to unlock those business processes.  For the next fifteen years that segment of the market will belong entirely to Microsoft.

What we want to do is cut of that migration and re direct it towards CDF ready Hubs able to compete against Exchange/SharePoint.  This is done through the neutralization of MSOffice and re purposing through our CDF conversion process.

If you have a better idea, than let's hear it.  Complaining about CDF without offering up a workable alternative is nonsense.  This goes directly to my point.  When the bell rings signalling that there is a battle with the great monopolist, you've got to show up with more than a keyboard and blog.  This battle is going to be won in the trenches of real world solutions.   Do you have any?

Didn't think so,


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  • Up and at em' - Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, November 11 2007 @ 01:19 PM CST